The Staff file Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2007

Age: 63

Born: San Antonio

Education: Bachelor’s degree, business administration, University of Texas; MBA, Texas A&M University-Kingsville

What is the best business lesson you’ve learned?

I spent 30 years in the oil service business. I tell people I wasn’t nearly as smart as I looked in 1981 when oil was $50 a barrel, or as dumb as I looked in 1986 when oil was $8 a barrel.

I think you are never as good as you look at the top or as bad as you look at the bottom. The corollary to me is that as you look at a situation, it’s never as bad as it looks at the bottom or as good as it looks at the top. So you really have to maintain a healthy skepticism about every situation that you look at — and have a significant amount of humility.

What traits or skills are essential for a business leader?

It’s this notion of integrity and wholeness, along with a willingness to make the hard decisions and accept accountability for those hard decisions, and being able to connect with all constituents.

What universal truths have you learned about leading a business?

Reward those who make it happen, and don’t keep people that you can’t trust.

What types of business books do you like to read?

I enjoy biographies of successful people and leaders. It helps you in understanding how people have gone through difficult situations and been successful.

Staff on staying visible to employees: I think that when you are in a position where people are somewhere between uncertain and skeptical, perhaps some even down into the cynical, if you don’t fill that vacuum for people coming on board, you are giving the power to those people who are cynical and skeptical.